Lab Chat #3 Bits

Inara Pey has written a well done summary of the Lab Chat #3 meeting. See it here: Lab Chat #3 in 10-ish minutes. Inara touches on all the questions asked and answered.

While most of the initial questions and answers have to do with Project Bento there are plenty of general Second Life™ questions and answers in the middle. Discussion then moves to Sansar. I’ve touched on just a few of the interesting points I think needed more information and context.

Pirate Town

Pirate Town

In regard to adding photography tools to the Linden Viewer similar to Firestorm’s Photo Tools, the Linden answer is a bit of spin. But, very much in line with their policy of not commenting on coming features until just before release.

The current Snapshot Panel in the Linden Viewer is based on a third party contribution from NiranV. NiranV is working on further enhancements, maybe. NiranV pretty much does whatever NiranV does in whatever time frame NiranV chooses. So, while Oz Linden has said he’s interested in an update to the Sanpshot Panel and happy to add more photo features, he obviously can’t control what a third party does or doesn’t do.

Increasing the size of sound files is in the works. Inara’s succinct summary of the point could be expanded on, IMO. Both sound and animations files are going to be added to the Content Delivery Network. This should provide faster and more consistent downloads.

Once the new delivery is working well, the Lab will decide and increase the maximum file size for sound and animation files. For now they have not decided how big they can go.

Experience Tools (ET): KEYS (used to make experiences) are currently restricted to Premium Members. This is a measure to reduce griefing. That is not likely to ever change. More features will be added to ET. But, ET is unlikely to ever replace RLV features or be compatible with RLV.

You may not know but, the OpenGL community is advancing and creating a new graphics interface called Vulkan. OpenGL and Vulkan are going to develop in parallel for now. OpenGL is the software side of the rendering engine used by Second Life. There are no plans to adapt SL to use Vulkan. A few weeks ago I emailed Oz and asked that question. The answer remains the same, no plan for now. That means any possibility of change is way out there.

However, Project Sansar is apparently making use of Vulkan.

Sansar video requirements are discussed. The ‘minimum’ requirement for a NIVIDIA GTX970 and better for use with Oculus and Vive is from Oculus not Linden Lab. Ebbe Altberg thinks they can get by with a lower minimum for Sansar via Oculus/Vive. But, until they start optimizing Sansar they do not know what video cards will be able to provide a ‘usable’ experience.

Current prices for GTX970’s are in the US$350 and up area. A few brands of GTX980’s go for $450 but most are still in the $550 and up. The Titan X cards are going for $1,100 and up. But, NVIDIA is releasing the new GTX1070 and GTX1080 Pascal cards that out perform even the Titan X. We will see those new 1000 series cards on the store shelves in June. They basically prove twice the performance of the 900 series cards. Their stated price is $400 and $600 respectively.

When those cards arrive we will see the cost of 970, 980, and Titan X cards drop. It is hard to know what the free market will do. We can’t really guess what people will be willing to pay for them. I’ll blindly guess we’ll see the 970 and 980 drop to $200 and $300. It may take some time, but this year.

So, the cost of minimum hardware for Sansar or improved performance in SL will drop.

Sansar’s TOS is currently being written. All we know is it is going to be separate from the current Linden blanket TOS that covers SL. I finally took down my Protest TOS sign…

We can only hope they give up the idea of owning whatever we put in Sansar forever and without limit on use.

Sansar and your Linden dollars… We started off hearing that our Linden currency would be usable and exchangeable between SL and Sansar.  Now Ebbe is saying there will ‘likely’ be a virtual currency in Sansar. While the new response may seem at odds with previous statements, the answer is in response to a different question.

Looking Glass Paparazzi was on the prowl ....literally

Looking Glass Paparazzi was on the prowl ….literally

The rumor is Sansar will require credit cards and RL money, only. Responding to that Ebbe says they are looking at using RL currencies (plural), but it gets complicated. So, the solution is ‘likely’ to be like what we see in SL. The ‘likely’ seems to be less about whether there will be a virtual currency than it is about the process used to move from RL currency to virtual currency. I take that to mean there is presently some possibility of using RL currencies within Sansar.

Consider. If Sansar can provide access as easy as a web site’s, then acceptance of a credit card or Paypal from within the experience, without having to first buy virtual currency, is way important.

Imagine clicking on a Google search listing, a virtual world experience would open, you would check out whatever you were searching for, and decide to buy. At this point diverting you to purchasing a virtual currency would be a deal buster. So, the use of RL cards and money without resorting to virtual dollars is a big deal.

SanSar and the Mac: During the Beta and Preview test periods there won’t be any support for Mac. They are trying hard to say that as gently as possible. I’m being blunt. Ebbe says they are going to support Mac. The first viewers for the Mac will likely get released around the official opening of Sansar.

While they are saying that will ‘likely’ happen in late 2016 or early 2017, I would advise not scheduling your breath holding based on those dates.

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